Taking on Nawaz Sharif for his criticism of Sadiq Sanjrani's ascension as Senate chairman, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on Tuesday said that the former prime minister only thinks the vote is being honoured when it goes to him or his candidates.
While speaking at the launch ceremony of a book authored by PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in Lahore, he said that Sharif talks about the vote being respected — "but only when his candidate wins".
He said that Sharif had begun criticism when a Senate chairman was democratically elected from Balochistan last month. "Had Nawaz Sharif's candidate won, the vote would have been respected but now that someone else has won, the vote has not been respected but it has been 'dishonoured' instead."
"I think Nawaz Sharif has himself drawn this line according to which if someone votes for Nawaz or [PkMAP chief] Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the vote is honoured but if it goes to somebody else, it is being dishonoured," he said.
PML-Q's Bizenjo, who became the province's chief minister with support of PML-N MPAs who defected over to him, said that people were leaving the PML-N because they were never respected by its leadership.
"Nawaz Sharif never respected his people but they were not getting a chance [to leave]. We gave them a chance and they took it," he said, predicting more defections from the PML-N after the current government's tenure ends.
Editorial: Season of defections
He added that he and others had stayed with the PML-Q in 2013 — despite knowing that the party would not get many seats in Pakistan — because of the respect they had received from PML-Q leadership.
"The people of Balochistan are hungry for respect," the chief minister said.
The recently held Senate elections had seen an independent senator from Balochistan being elected as the upper house's chairman and PPP's Senator Saleem Mandviwala being elected as his deputy with support from a wide array of parties, including political foes PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
The move had faced severe criticism from the PML-N leaders, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Sharif, who said that voters had been bought and coerced. They even went on to demand that the chief justice take suo motu notice on the political developments in Balochistan.